Communities on the west side of Salt Lake County are welcoming new parks and improvements to existing ones this summer and fall, as outdoor spaces continue to be popular gathering spots during the ongoing pandemic.
The parks’ new features include playgrounds, splash pads and, in Taylorsville, a volunteer labor of love to teach residents about gardening.
County residents want to see more trails, open spaces for relaxing and a higher level of maintenance in area parks, according to a 2017 survey conducted by Salt Lake County’s Parks and Recreation department and Utah State University. Those top priorities were consistent throughout the valley, said Martin Jensen, the department’s director.
“We’re absolutely thinking ahead and thinking forward. We know there’s a tremendous amount of growth on the west side,” Jensen said, “and we’re planning and actively trying to meet that demand to provide parks and rec services.”
Here are some of the new parks and renovations scheduled this year — and some plans for next year.
Opening of Magna Regional Park
The new Magna Regional Park will open to the public this fall at 4042 S. 7200 West in Magna, as at least two decades of planning and work to secure the right location start to come to fruition.
This year, Utahns will be able to enjoy the first 25 acres in Phase 1 of the park, with an all-abilities playground and splash pad, walking paths, pavilions, restrooms and a multipurpose field for soccer, lacrosse or football, Jensen said.
The exact date of its opening is uncertain, because the turf is still growing as the county also works to conserve water during the drought.
Once it’s completed, Magna Regional Park will cover 62 acres.
Redesign at Labrum Park, Taylorsville
Volunteers have been moving a lot of dirt, laying and edging pathways and soon will be planting seeds for their makeover at T. John Labrum Memorial Park, at 6041 S. Jordan Canal Road in Taylorsville.
Their Loving Labrum Park Project is a redesign with walking paths and areas intended to educate the community about gardening. Features will show visitors ideas for what they could plant in their own yards, different types of plants that would work well with little water, and how to make an irrigation system or a drip system, according to Meredith Harker, a Taylorsville City Council member and parks and recreation liaison.
This new concept is expected to open this fall, with a $6,000 grant from the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District and a $10,000 budget from the City Council. Around 20 volunteers gather on some Saturday mornings and on weeknights to complete the work.
Updates at Oquirrh Park, Kearns
With an investment of $4.5 million, Phase III of Oquirrh Park is complete and now offers a playground, more walking trails and paths for rides and scooters and a pavilion.
Those amenities join the multipurpose fields, baseball diamond and skate park that previously made it a sports destination, at 4950 W. Ed Mayne Lane in Kearns.
“Now you can go there and hang out and have lunch and let your kids go and play on the playground,” Jensen said.
Three Creeks Confluence Park
Once buried in trash, the point at which Red Butte, Emigration and Parleys creeks spill into the Jordan River has been brought into the light of day.
The new Three Creeks Confluence Park, located at 950 W. 1300 South in Glendale, has been transformed into a space with bridges, banks to fish or enjoy the water and a play area, after a Salt Lake City investment of $3 million.
More parks in 2022
New parks with openings planned next year include two in and near Herriman and two in West Valley City.
K-9 Memorial Dog Park
Although residents will be able to see a partially finished park this summer, growing the sod to the point that it’s robust enough for heavy dog traffic will take additional months, said Anthony Teuscher, director of parks and events in Herriman.
The opening date will most likely be in spring 2022, he said.
The park is expected to have two main pods with play features such as stacked logs, rocks and agility obstacles. The plans also include shade structures, a trail around the perimeter of the park and a water station for dogs.
Bingham Creek Regional Park
Once it opens in spring 2022, Bingham Creek Regional Park, located at about 4800 West and 10200 South in South Jordan, will be the largest park in Salt Lake County. Phase I is expected to cover approximately 25 acres out of the 125 acres that the county’s parks and recreation team are planning.
“That park, when it’s complete, will be a gem. It’s going to be what we call the Sugar House Park of the west,” Jensen said.
The first phase of the park will include a large playground, six multipurpose fields and walking paths. A bike pump track will be “a playground for kids and adults on bikes,” he said. Future phases are expected to feature splash pads, miles of walking trails and more sports fields.
Juniper Canyon Recreation Area
The Juniper Canyon Recreation Area might take a long time to become fully functional. But once completed, it will cover 72 acres connecting the primitive trail system in the Herriman Hills with two trailheads.
Phase I of the project is expected to open in southeast Herriman, next to Sentinel Ridge Blvd., in late 2022 or in 2023.
The Herriman parks and recreation team is planning to have a multipurpose paved trail for walking and biking and a circuit training trail with fitness equipment along the way. The preliminary concept includes a separate mountain bike trail with skill features, a pump track and a disc golf course that would be a substitute for the Rosecrest course, which was closed in 2018.
West Valley City parks
West Valley City plans to use community development block grants this summer to create the new Grasmere Park and to start work on the final bike park phase at Centennial Park, at 5405 W. 3100 South, according to a presentation by Parks and Recreation Director Nancy Day to the City Council this spring.
The budget for 1-acre Grasmere Park is $325,000, which will fund picnic tables, a playground and outdoor workout stations at 3900 S. 1500 West. Construction is set to start around August and it may be ready to open by spring 2022.
The city plans to spend $1.1 million on the bike park construction before an estimated spring 2022 opening, according to Jason Erekson, assistant Parks and Recreation director at West Valley City. It’s expected to include asphalt trails and ramps to help alleviate congestion at the existing smaller pump tracks of the park.
Alixel Cabrera is a Report for America corps member and writes about the status of communities on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley for The Salt Lake Tribune. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by clicking here.